Be A Step Ahead of Social Conventions


We live our lives based on social conventions where we want some sort of relationship, no matter how fleeting it is, before we want to help someone.  I know that I’m guilty of this mentality.  Do you have an internal monologue that goes something like this: “What? You want my help? You want to inconvenience me? Ugh. I don’t really know you OR you haven’t gone through the right channels to be able to ask for that.”  This is typical and no one would be surprised if you thought that way when a stranger asked for a favor.  Dr. Cialdini, professor at the University of Arizona even talks about the importance of reciprocity.

I want to challenge you to be better than the social convention.  When someone asks you for a favor, why not decide to be the first one to extend a helping hand?  Do it without any expectation of the person.  Do it cheerfully and help wholeheartedly.  Do it even when you don’t have a relationship with that person.  Decide to be the positive influence in someone’s day.  You never know, your actions could change someone’s life.
Photo by LiminalMike

Never Say “No Problem” Again

Most humans live by the law of reciprocity where you do something of positive value for someone and they feel an obligation to do something of positive value in return.  Taking the time to enhance the lives of others will have a positive effect on yours.

The critical moment comes when someone says “thank you.”  Due to our prior interactions and media we’ve consumed, we often respond with:

“Nothing to it.” or “It’s just my job.” or “No problem.”

We’ve all said these lines before when someone thanked us.  It’s easy. It seems like the right thing to stay.  According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, you’re throwing away a valuable part of your social currency.  When someone thanks you, they are extending themselves in showing you how they honestly value what you’ve done for them.  If you respond with one of the terms above, you’re destroying the goodwill you’ve created and robbing the grateful person of an activity their brain wants to complete – the need to reciprocate.

Next time, instead of responding with “no problem” or “it’s just my job,” try “you’re most welcome, you’d do the same for me.”  You’ll notice that most people will respond positively and agree that they will do the same for you!  I’ve been using this method for years.  The first step, though, is being willing to extend yourself to help others.  Help others genuinely, repeatedly and without keeping score.  You don’t need to keep score any longer when you do this.  You’ll have built goodwill and solidified your goodwill and the benefit you provide in the minds of others.  Do this for people that are close to you, do this for strangers.  Everyone benefits from you reaching out, including you.  How much goodwill can you build today?  In effect, how many people can you help today?

As seen on MySA